The Lord’s Heathen Helpers, Pagan Princes, Soothsayers, Shepherds and Sorcerers

El Shaddai uses all kinds of people to accomplish His will. His enemies usually do not even realize they are performing His purposes. God is sovereign, and His knowledge is infinite, knowing no bounds. Let us examine several people that the good Lord has used to accomplish His purposes. The first, we will examine in some detail, and we will simply touch on the remainder. Alexander the Great was a Greek, born of King Philip of Macedonia. The city of Philippi was named after Alexander’s father. Over three centuries before Christ, Alexander conquered the known world, covering an incredible area of real estate from Greece to India. He commenced with a modest army of about 42,000 soldiers as he crossed into Asia and made mercenaries of the captives along the journey. He never lost in battle and was an amazing general. He worshipped the deities from all of the lands he conquered. He even captured the island city state of Tyre, by building a land bridge to the island out of the rubble that was left when the city on the mainland was previously destroyed. The great general spared the destruction of Jerusalem when Alexander was shown how he fulfilled Bible prophecy (Josephus records in his annals that Alexander was told that he was the “goat” in Daniel, chapter 8). Alexander was God’s “tool” in ways that we can understand easily as we look back in retrospect. Alexander “hellenized” the world with the Greek culture, language and influence, thus paving the way for the Gospel which Jesus Christ, the Apostles and the early Christians carried throughout the known world. (Hellenic means Greek; of the history, language or culture of the ancient Greeks). Alexander did not have a heir to inherit his kingship, hence the empire was divided among his four generals. Yet the Lord’s work was accomplished through him as he gave a common culture and the best language the world has ever known (Greek) to pave the way for the spreading of the Christian faith. The following is a fascinating contrast between Alexander the Great and Jesus Christ:
Alexander conquered the physical world. Jesus Christ conquered the spiritual world. Alexander died at the age of 33, of battle injuries, disease and drunkenness. Jesus Christ died at the age of 33, willingly sacrificing Himself and dying for the sins of all the world. Alexander died in Babylon, the city known for false gods, man making a god of himself, Nimrod, and the Tower of Babel. Babylon is mentioned in the book of Revelation in reference to the end times one world religion, monetary system, and government under the domain of the antichrist and outside of the will of God. Jesus Christ died in Jerusalem, the city of God. Jerusalem is the heart and soul of the Bible. There is no one place as important as Jerusalem. How appropriate for the King of Kings to give Himself in this sacred city. Hence Alexander was in effect God’s servant, even though he did not believe in the one true God, nor did he worship Him. Alexander THOUGHT he was making a name for himself——–in reality, he was doing the will of God.
Balaam was a soothsayer and false prophet (see Jude 11), yet God used him to espouse on a beautiful and powerful prophecy in Numbers 24:17, referring to the coming Son of God as a “Star out of Jacob.” Balaam was a classic example of one who like people today, knew the Word, but refused to submit to it himself. Balaam refused to prophecy against God’s Word, His will, and His chosen people Israel, and honor the requests of the Moabite leader Balak who desired him to do so……………….hence Balaam circumnavigated the situation and managed to seduce the Israelite men to engage in sexual immorality with the Moabite women, sacrifice to their gods, and worship these gods, as well as their premier deity Baal of Peor.
God took another proud lump of flesh named Goliath, and accomplished His perfect will through him. The giant Philistine was certainly not God’s man but a man’s man: He was SIX cubits and a span tall, and his spear’s head weighed SIX hundred shekels of iron. (Note the repetition of the number six—the number of man, one short of God’s perfect number of seven). This blasphemer of the Living God was used by the Lord to reveal the giant killer David, the man of faith and a man after God’s own heart. This was the first step whereby the shepherd boy would eventually become prophet and king!
How about Cyrus the pagan Persian King who God calls “my shepherd, performing my pleasure, saying return to Jerusalem and build the temple” (Isaiah 44:28); and the Lord calls him “his anointed” (Isaiah 45:1). This prophecy was made hundreds of years before it was fulfilled! (God’s prophecy is simply history written in advance). The Lord used a pagan king to once again establish the Israelites in the holy land Israel, back into Jerusalem, complete with a rebuilt temple. Awesome.
Antiochus Epiphanes is a type of the antichrist mentioned in the book of Daniel. He reigned as king of Syria in the time period between the testaments, and is noted for his persecution of the Israelites and his desecration of the temple through sacrificing a pig at the altar, introducing idolatry and prohibiting true worship to be held. His blasphemy was used by the Lord to broadcast a preview of what will happen in the future tribulation period. God also raised up a heroic family, the Maccabees, led by Mattathias and Judas, who won back Israel’s independence after years of warfare.
How can we forget Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor who needed more taxes? When he declared an edict that everyone register for the taxation, this forced Mary and Joseph to go to Bethlehem (Joseph’s ancestral home and the house of David). Not even Mary and Joseph realized that they HAD to go to Bethlehem at this time so that their Son could fulfill the Bible prophecy from Micah 5:2, written seven hundred years earlier— “But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting.”
May we close this study with the infamous Adolf Hitler. Through his demonic belief in racial superiority, he had six million Jews killed. This tyrannical reign of his actually brought about a brief period of sympathy for God’s chosen people, and they were allowed to emigrate out of their countries and into the area of the holy land. Ultimately, Israel became a nation once again on May 14, 1948, once again fulfilling Bible prophecy! The Lord Jehovah knows all, and there is absolutely NOTHING that can thwart His will and purpose. May we keep this in mind as we contemplate contemporary world events that may seem hopeless! Does some issue or event seem hopeless to you? If God wants it to happen, the question is not “if” but “how”!!! God is amazing, awesome and His arm is never too short. Praise His name for what He has done and what He is going to do!

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